2020: The year set for completion of the Whitgift Centre redevelopment.
The past century has seen the Foundation play a crucial part in shaping the economic fabric of Croydon due to its land ownership in the heart of the town centre; the area of land in between Wellesley Road and North End, and Poplar Walk and George Street.
This decade has presented Croydon and the Foundation with an unprecedented opportunity to restore the town back to its former glory through the £1billion redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre. Set for completion in 2020, Chief Executive, Martin Corney, provides an update on the scheme:
What have been the key milestones of the project?
In November 2011, Westfield and the Foundation entered into exclusive arrangements to work together to explore the potential redevelopment of the town centre. In February 2013, the Croydon Partnership was formed when Westfield entered into a joint venture with Hammerson PLC to combine Croydon’s two main shopping centres, the Whitgift Centre and Centrale, and deliver a comprehensive and transformational change to Croydon. Croydon Council granted planning permission to the Croydon Partnership for the redevelopment on 25 November 2013. Following this decision, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, gave his approval to the plans.
What progress was made in 2015?
In September 2015, the Government confirmed the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) which enabled Croydon Council to use its powers to purchase land needed for the £1billion redevelopment of the Whitgift Shopping Centre.
What are the next steps for the redevelopment?
Plans for the Westfield and Hammerson £1bn shopping centre in the town centre have been expanded to hundreds of new homes, a Marks and Spencer store and an IMAX cinema. The revised proposals include up to 1,000 homes, as well as an extra floor and a new car park on Wellesley Road to take traffic away from Poplar Walk.
Westfield and Hammerson are working together as the Croydon Partnership, where they will look at increasing the number of homes it will build beyond the 400 to 600 units previously agreed.
Works are expected to start in 2017 with potential completion in 2020.
How will the redevelopment impact on the Foundation’s future income?
During the development phase, the Foundation’s income is protected and any growth in the future will enable us to increase our provision for more bursaries and support our wide range of care services. We are also seeking other opportunities to expand our education and care services through fundraising and development.
What benefits will the new shopping centre bring to Croydon in 2020?
The scheme consists of 200,000sq m including retail, leisure, residential with the potential for hotels and offices and will create over 5,000 new jobs and thousands of temporary construction employment opportunities. The scheme has acted as a catalyst for other development projects across the town and there has already been a vast change to Croydon’s landscape, particularly around East Croydon Station with the construction of residential and office units well underway.
Croydon Partnership spokesperson said: "We have made a significant investment into our project in Croydon and remain committed to a start on site as soon as practically possible, which we have long maintained will be in 2017. We expect to have completed the final designs and land assembly by the end of the current year with a targeted opening in 2020."
For further information and updates on the development in Croydon, visit www.thecroydonpartnership.com